Putting aside the apparent apathy toward the concept of a national generic promotion board, let’s consider again one of the benefits of having such a program in place.

As I was talking to one marketer the other day connected to the leadership in the Produce for Better Health Foundation, he mentioned that government officials have informed the PBH leadership not to expect easy-flowing government grants or infusions of federal money to promote fruit and vegetable consumption without a commitment on the part of industry to do its share.

In other words, to those who would like to believe that lawmakers should direct the USDA, HHS or some other agency to provide millions from federal coffers to boost fruit and vegetable consumption while the industry watches on with gratitude, don’t hold your breath.

If the industry can’t commit to fund its own substantial efforts to boost consumption, it is unlikely that the money will be coming unabated from the federal government. 

Without a promotion message fed  by a steady supply of industry assessments, the net result is a weakened public profile for the fruit and vegetable industry and the slimmest of likelihoods that Uncle Sam will ride in to save the day.

Speaking of promotion, one apple marketer I visited with had an interesting comment about the affordability of “5 a day” – that is, the economic odds of consuming recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. He suggested that retailers could have a  select group of fruits and vegetables – likely changing with seasonality – that are offered every week at prices well below typical produce department margins to give. The object: to give  consumers a better price point and a greater chance of consuming more fruits and vegetables.

Of course, produce ads in the weekly circular may seemingly accomplish the same thing. But imagine the good will that a retailer could generate if it merchandised five fruits or vegetables every week at a reduced margin to encourage greater produce consumption, and made the purpose of its actions plain.